Jeff S. Merritt is an expert in the area of smart cities, the internet of things (IoT), emerging technologies, and government innovation with two decades of on-the-ground leadership in the U.S. and abroad. He currently serves as Head of IoT and Connected Devices for the World Economic Forum as part of the Center for the Fourth Industrial Revolution in San Francisco, California.
Jeff began his career working with U.S. State Department-sponsored programs in Croatia, Macedonia, Albania, Serbia and Montenegro. In 2003, Jeff was named Executive Director for the Center for Civic Responsibility, where he led efforts resulting in the adoption of new pay-to-play reform legislation and the development of a statewide civics education curriculum for high school students and adults. In 2005, Jeff founded Grassroots Initiative, a New York-based startup dedicated to ensuring that government and public service are accessible regardless of race, creed or economic status. As President of Grassroots Initiative, Jeff oversaw the launch of the nation’s first non-profit election consulting firm and helped organize the first entirely online public election in U.S. history as part of a 2009 contract with the New York City Department of Education.
In 2010, Jeff joined the office of New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio and in 2012 was named one of City & State’s “New York City Rising Stars: 40 Under 40” for his work there. At the Public Advocate’s office, Jeff led the Public Advocate’s open government and technology initiatives and national coalitions on issues of corporate political spending and gun divestment. He spearheaded the creation of New York City’s Worst Landlord Watchlist, a first-of-its-kind tool to allow tenants to look up a current or potential landlord to see code violations in that landlord’s buildings. The resource helped spur the creation of new private sector companies and has now been replicated in other cities including Vancouver, where it led to a 75% reduction in rental building violations.
In 2014, Jeff was named Director of Innovation for the City of New York and helped establish the Mayor’s Office of Technology and Innovation. As part of the Mayor’s Office, he led a range of technology efforts including launching the city’s top-level domain, laying the groundwork for the world’s largest, fastest municipal Wi-Fi network, and leading the creation and adoption of new guidelines and tools to promote the responsible and equitable expansion of the Internet of Things. In 2016 and 2017, Jeff’s work was recognized by the Smart City Expo World Congress in Barcelona with two awards: Best Smart City and Most Innovative Idea.
In November 2017, Jeff joined the World Economic Forum where he currently heads up efforts related to IoT and connected devices.
Jeff holds a Master’s degree from Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs and a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of Michigan. He lives in San Francisco, California with his wife, Kristyn, and two daughters, Polly and Maisy.